The Day That Facebook Melted My Debate Face


I tweeted the debate Tuesday night, mostly just for fun, but partly because “live tweeting” an event is something that my students will have to learn to do. Looking back, I would need the tape to then compose a coherent story.

And Facebook, you failed me and my fans. I do have a few.

Blue bird

A bluebird at Yosemite, from Wikimedia Commons, uploaded by user “Urban.” OK, my post is not abou this blue bird, but he’s pretty.

I arrange a connection between my on-line accounts, when I can. When I publish this post, WordPress will tweet for me and my Twitter account is set up to update my Facebook wall. For about the first 30 minutes of the debate, I know that my friends and family were following along on Facebook, until, unexpectedly, there was an epic Facebook following failure. (Say that 3 times really fast).

I supposed the Twitter-verse was just too hot for a while. Everybody and their dog was busy quickly making memes and fake ids for “binders of women,” surely the most memorable sound bite from the night. I checked Facebook this a.m.—about three hours after the debate was over, my second batch of Tweets finally got posted.

Oh well. NBD. My daughter in the UK was able to follow the debate via my Twitter postings, and that was cool. She asked on Twitter who I thought had won, and then saw my 45th or so tweet—Obama, mama, by leaps and bounds.

Not that Romney had a horrible night—he did make some good jabs.

Anyway, I don’t want to over analyze the debate itself. I already did that, 140 characters at a time. Instead, I’m curious about what it means to experience an event via remote control, and also what it did to me.

I tweeted, mid-debate, a question to Brian Steffen, a professor at Simpson who was tweeting the debate, too. I asked how the act of tweeting changed his perception of the debate. His answer was that it made him listen more closely.

Not a bad, or untrue, answer. But in 1984, I covered a presidential debate in Kansas City between Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan. I didn’t have any trouble staying focused, knowing that I had a big story to quickly write for the front page of next morning’s paper.

And, if I were still a working reporter—and there are a few left in the world—I’m curious about how I could tweet without letting tweeting get in the way. Anybody out there in the cyberworld want to chime in?

If you tweet during an event, how does that change your ability to step back and write quickly about that event? Does tweeting help, hurt or do both so that it’s a wash?

Finally, with the help of Excel, I have reversed the order of my own debate tweets. If you went on Twitter and looked at my tweets, you’d see the debate in reverse chronological order, which is an odd sort of Benjamin Buttons way to experience life. Here, in chronological order, in all there typo-iffy glory, are my more than 50 debate-related tweets from Tuesday (no wonder the Twitter-to-Facebook link melted):

Tune For Tuesday: A Defiant Debate Mood http://wp.me/putrd-17y
#debate–odd pre-debate scene–CNN talking about pink dressed, then switch to ABC where we’re saying goodbye to Bristol Palin.
#debate–Romney, “I know what it takes to create jobs.” The repeated line. Romney promises Jeremy a job.
#debate–Romney promises 12 million jobs from 5 point plan. Obama: What Romney said isn’t true. Well, feisty Obama has shown up …
#debates Most nervous people are the poor citizens having to ask questions.
#debate–Obama is drill baby drill? Say it ain’t so.
#debates–is Jeremy the Joe the Plumber of 2012? I’m concerned about the Joe gap.
#debate–this has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Coal or Mr. Gas. Romney–that’s the point. Dirty old fuels are not our future.
#debate–I beat @LyleMuller to Joe the Plumber line, scoring a point for Joes!
#debate–best line so far–Natural Gas does not appear by magic. You you have feed beans to the middle aged men.
#debate–Romney going for POTUS. Where is Secret Service?
#debate–coal production is not up. Mr. Romney, more coal is not a good goal.
#debates–Romney blames Obama for high oil prices? I don’t think so.
Having trouble with my hash tags. Romney has be flustered. I keep typing #debate and I mean #debates. Y’all have to add the s, please.
#debates–Romney is now attacking Candy. First Obama, now Candy, now they know how Big Bird feels.
#debates–Mr. Romney’s left hand it out of control. It’s doing the Romney jazz hand debate dance.
#debates–Is Mitt getting cotton mouth? HIs tone is getting a pit peevish. Obama is smiling.
#debates–Mr. Romney won’t let rich pay less at a time when their tax rates are at historic lows. Blah.
#debates–how does it change debate experience to tweet? What do you think, @BrianSteffen ?
#debates–Obama’s left hand dances more quickly. His jazz hand beats Romney’s jazz hand hands down.
#debates–Romney doing employment karate chops now. He’s a ninja tax cutting economy growing trickle down machine. But the ideas are old.
#debates–Mr. Obama looks tiny next to Romney. He’s definitely much leaner. Romney very fit for a man in his 60s.
#debates–Obama going after Romney on loopholes. Holey moley it’s about time.
#debates–Paging Big Bird. You’re a bigger debate start than Jeremy.
#debates–Obama: Nobody believes it adds up. Romney: Of course they add up. I ran businesses. I can add. Lame, but then goes on attack.
#debates–Politifact just said Obama is right. Romney’s math does not work.
#debates–citizens gets to ask a question. Catherine, thank you. We forgot there was a town at this town hall for a while.
#debates–time for a twitter break. @BrianSteffen your carry the ball some more. I’m opening a package of Oreos.
#debates–best line number two. Romney: Can’t we find some women?
#debates–Romney: They’re going to be anxious to find some women. That’s been the story of my life. And yes, Oreos do make debate better.
#debates–Romney promises America “binders full of women.” Best. Campaign. Promise. Ever.
#debates–if I were Susan Katz, I would have worn Halloween cat ears. Just saying.
#debates–Romney is trying to be the birth control candidate. Then switches to energy. Romney is looking a bit peevish to me.
#debates–Romney is running against Bush. Next, he will trace differences between him and Nixon, Ford and the first Bush. But not Reagan.
#debates–how will getting touch on China make economy better here? Weakening China will not make us stronger.
#debates–Obama on differences between Romney and Bush. Pretty powerful, I think. Want Politifacts to get busy.
#debates–drinking games heating up. Take a swig for Jeremy, Big Bird, Planned Parenthood and Osama bin Laden.
#debates–Romney says next 4 years will be like past 4. Avoid Depression. Reform healtchare–given the cards dealt, Obama wins.
#debates–Romney is going to bring back economy of 1980s. I don’t think the world today is the world of the 1980s, I doubt it will work.
#debates–both candidates want immigration reform. Good luck, this is not an issue that lends itself to sound bite solutions.
#debates–POTUS just said “gang bangers.” And yet, I think he’s doing so much better tonight.
#debates–Romney was licking his wounds 4 years ago. He seems to be sputtering. Wound licking time again?
#debates–Obama-you’re pension is bigger than mine.
#debates–Romney criticizes Obama for campaigning during the campaign.
#debates–Romney repeats “apology tour” line. Blah. Obama is putting the hammer down on Romney on Libya. Tone has shifted.
#debates–I think the exchange over the “T” word (terrorism) was a turning point. Obama looked strong, Romney blustered. Round 2: Obama.
#debates: Best line. Romney: “I totally agree.”
#debates–Candy can’t stop POTUS. But Candy stands her ground. She won’t back down. Go girl.
#debates–Romney again going after China. On day one, he will take on China. Oh, help! Iraq wasn’t a big enough enemy, now China.
#debates–Time is running out. Thank goodness.
#debates–Romney cares about 100 percent of people. As long as he’s not at a millionaire’s fund raiser.
#debates–Romney left the door open for Obama to bring up the 47 percent. Obama does it.
#debates–Obama is grinning big. Brought his A game tonight. Romney got in good lines, but did not have as good a night. Big Bird smiles.

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